12 January 2005

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Air Malta sees four per cent increase in 2004 passenger traffic

Charter traffic sees 19 per cent quarterly rise

National airline Air Malta has reported a four per cent total increase in passenger traffic for 2004, with a three per cent rise in scheduled traffic and a one per cent increase in charter traffic on its Malta based operations.
For the whole of the year, charter services operating to and from Malta accounted for 194,000 passengers, while charters operating to other resorts from its UK base carried a further 261,400 passengers. Passengers on scheduled services to and from Malta, meanwhile, reached the 1.4 million passengers mark.
A look at figures for the last quarter of 2004, however, shows an explosion in charter traffic, Air Malta charter services to and from Malta increasing by 19 per cent and reaching 38,000 passengers. The airline also carried an additional 52,000 passengers on its UK based charter operations. Traffic the airline’s scheduled services increased by two per cent to 295,000 passengers between October and December 2004.
Commenting on the results, Air Malta CEO Ernst Funk remarked how the increase had been driven mainly by results from October, which he described as “positive”.
He comments, “I think that under the circumstances the performance has been reasonable. We do have some concerns about the winter business with the first two months of the season experiencing a weaker demand.
“We are and we will continue to be the largest generator of tourist and business traffic to/from Malta. Our success is closely tied to the fortunes of Malta as a destination and there is no doubt that this exposes our business to certain risks. With our off-base operations we are diversifying our activities and customer base to ensure sustainable growth for the airline and combined with our determined cost saving initiatives we are further strengthening our competitive position.”
The airline is currently undergoing a restructuring process and is introducing organisational changes, deep cost cutting and the development of additional business opportunities.
Announcing the third quarter results in summer, Air Malta Chairman Lawrence Zammit had maintained that the airline “is not yet out of the woods”. The airline operates in a highly competitive and liberalised market environment, which is still to fully recover from the events of 9/11 and Gulf War II. Airlines are also highly susceptible to the economic behaviour of major economies that affect demand for air transport.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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